Background: Suicide attempts are a significant public health problem, especially
among adolescents. They are associated with psychiatric morbidity and result in significant
use of health care resources. Systematic study of suicidal behavior among Greek adolescents
Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the clinical, psychosocial and family
characteristics of adolescent suicide attempters within the rapidly changing socio-cultural
Method: This is an ongoing cross-sectional study conducted since 1990 at the Adolescent
Unit of the AHEPA General Hospital, the oldest and one of the major teaching hospitals of
the School of Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Results: Of the 182 cases reviewed, 84.1% were females and 15.9% were males aged 12 to
19 years (M=15.24 years, SD = 1.74). Most attempts occurred in adolescents living in intact
biological families (59.9%), and medication ingestion was the most predominant method
(83.5%). Nearly one-fifth of the adolescents had previously attempted suicide. There was a
family history of suicide in 5% of cases. Severe dysfunction or impairment of family context
was the most frequently recorded parameter (59.9%), followed by various school difficulties
(54.9%), and adolescent-parent conflict (53.3%). In a clinical perspective, active
psychopathology was found in 56.1%, with depressive disorder ranking first (30.8%),
followed by personality disorders characterised by acting out behavior (19.2%), and
substance-related disorders (9.3%).
Conclusions: Findings from this research enable us to gain a greater understanding of
suicidal behavior among adolescents, thus contributing to a better clinical and psychosocial
approach, and, consequently, more effective prevention and care.